The Journey to School

Source: Plan International - Thu, 11 Jul 2013 09:45 AM
Author: Plan International
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  • Globally, one in five adolescent girls is denied an education because of child marriage, poverty, distance and violence. To mark Malala Day on July 12, Plan International reveals the difficulties faced by girls from across the world in getting to school.

    Photo Credit: Plan International / James Stone

  • Sylvia: “Even though I don’t enjoy the journey, and sometimes find it very scary, I am willing to do whatever it takes for me to get a good education.” Plan International supports the school Sylvia attends and she is now regularly monitored by Plan staff in the area to ensure her safety, teachers and school workers are making positive changes where possible to ensure that all children attending the school have a safer journey.

    *name has been changed

    Photo Credit: James Stone

  • Through its Because I am a Girl campaign, Plan International is working to support a girls’ right to an education by helping communities to make positive changes to ensure that all children attending school have a safer journey.

    Photo Credit: Plan International / Will Boase

  • On July 12, Malala Yousafzai will take to the United Nations in New York to lead the General Assembly’s first-ever youth takeover and to deliver a keynote speech about the importance of girls’ education. Malala has lent her support to Plan’s campaign by raising her hand for a girls right to an education and you can too, by visiting plan-international.org/what-you-can-do/raise-your-hand-now.

    Photo credit: A World at School 2013

  • Yié, 13, from Cameroon, lives in a community of Baka pygmies. She is the only Baka girl amongst 800 pupils to attend her local secondary school, and she must stay outside her village in order to attend. “It is important for girls to be educated,” she says. “Girls can be spoiled – they get pregnant early, either with boys they know or with older Bantu men. There are girls in this village who fell pregnant young and already have babies, and now they can’t do anything. But if they go to school, they won’t be married off early.”

    Photo Credit: Plan International / Marc Schlossman

  • When Faridah* from Pakistan was 12, men would sexually harass young girls on their way to school. One day, Faridah’s grandfather saw a boy harassing his granddaughter, but his first reaction was not to protect her. “He took me home, beat me and stopped my education,” recalls Faridah, now 17. After her dad died, she was forced to get married, aged 15. She still wanted to go to school and, when she heard about Plan’s Non Formal Education centres, she was determined to attend. But her husband’s reaction wasn’t what she hoped. “My husband became angry, he beat me, argued with me and refused to let me go,” she says. Faridah still faces a daily battle to get an education but, with the support of Plan, she’s determined not to give up.

    *name has been changed

    Photo Credit: Plan International / Emily Packer

  • Betzabé, 14, from Bolivia, travels down a long, dangerous road all on her own, just to get to school. “My journey takes two hours,” she says. “A guy followed me once and I had to run away because I was afraid.” Betzabé would also miss class because her teachers wouldn’t let late students in, but Plan has called on schools to be more lenient with children travelling from remote areas.

    Photo Credit: Plan International

  • Esther*, 12, from Zambia, is from a family of seven children who live with their mother. Their father is dead. She walks to school with her best friend every day, as she’s scared of being attacked. Esther has heard of girls being raped and says her mother always tells her not to walk home alone as girls get attacked. “Even big bullies take advantage of these roads and long distances. They wait at roadsides and beat us up. We are always afraid,” she says.

    *name has been changed

    Photo Credit: Plan International

  • Pramila, 15, from Nepal, has faced an uphill struggle to go to school. “Because of poverty, I’ve had to endure many problems to continue my studies,” says Pramila. “My family couldn’t afford my educational expenses, so my father sent me to work as a kamalari [child servant].” It wasn’t until Pramila heard about the Kamalari Abolition Project, supported by Plan’s partner organisation, she realised it was possible to continue with her education without having to work as a servant.

    Photo Credit: Plan International

  • Maryuri was forced to leave school at the request of her father, as he was afraid she would meet a boy. “My dad did not want me to go to school because several students age 13 and 14 had got married, fallen pregnant and left school,” says Maryuri. “He believed I would do the same.” The teenager knew she wanted to continue with her studies and she begged her mum to help her. While she was at home, a teacher came to visit Maryuri’s parents to find out why she wasn’t going to school. As Maryuri’s dad was away on business, the teacher managed to convince her mum of the importance of education. “The teacher told my mum to send me to school even with three notebooks," says Maryuri, and her mum did just that.

    Photo Credit: Plan International

  • Chas, 15, from Cambodia, is used to tackling muddy roads on her four kilometre journey, but when it rains, she has to get up much earlier. “During the flooding season, I have to get up at 4:30am to prepare food for my 76-year-old grandma who I live with,” she says.

    Photo Credit: Plan International

  • Sylvia*, 8, lives in Tanzania. Her mother, Marium, remarried after her husband died when Sylvia was a small. But when Marium and her new husband started a family, Sylvia was viewed by her new father as a burden, due to her wish to get an education. Sylvia goes to school, but as the family are so poor, they cannot afford to provide her with basic shoes for the one and a half hour walk to the school.

    *name has been changed

    Photo Credit: James Stone

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